This sermon was given by Rev. Patrick O’Neil, at the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn, New York, on January 21, 2015. Sadly it is even more relevant today than ever. I share it in honor and memory of all those lost lives in Newtown, in Las Vegas, in Orlando, in Texas and so many other places. Whatever the actual age of the victims, they were somebody’s children.
Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai. It is perhaps surprising then to learn that the traditional greeting between the Masai Warriors – Kasserian Ingera – means “And how are the Children?”
It is still the traditional greeting among the Masai, acknowledging the high value that the Masai always place on their children’s well being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional response – “All the Children are well.” Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that priorities of protecting the young and powerless are in place, that Masai society has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper function and responsibilities. “All the Children are well” means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles of existence, even among a poor people, do not preclude proper caring for its young people.
I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children’s welfare if in our culture we took to greeting each other with this same daily question: “And how are the Children?” I wonder if we heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times a day, if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how children are thought of or cared for in this country.
I wonder if every adult among us, parent and non-parent alike, felt an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children in our town, in our state, in our country, could we truly say without any hesitation, “The children are well, yes, all the children are well.”
What would it be like if the President began every press conference or every public appearance by answering the question: “And how are the children, Mr. President?” If every Governor of every state had to answer the same question at every press conference: “And how are the children, Governor? “Are they well?” Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear their answers? What would it be like? I wonder…
What would be your answer?
©Martha Hurwitz, 11/6/17
Inspired by Daily Prompt: panacea